Check out where the article was originally posted here.

A "Slow Food" Movement

    Our food systems are continuing to move in a direction where automation, convenience foods, and food waste are the norms. In many places, slow food, or the culture of preparing food through traditional methods using quality local ingredients, is becoming a rarity as people favor processed foods more and more. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to invest in producers, restaurants, and organizations whose passion it is to reintroduce slow food to our communities and to bring people together through meaningful shared experiences of food. 

    The significance of these kind of shared experiences of real food that are essential to our cultures and well-being are oftentimes overlooked in favor of convenience. And, while convenience certainly has its merits, supporting local producers, creating healthy food, and sharing knowledge about growing and making good food will help us build healthy, sustainable communities that have strong local economies, a harmonious environment, and healthy people. 

    Below are three businesses and organizations in York County that are bringing us back to our roots, connecting the community, protecting the environment, and sharing delicious food.

    Many York natives may have heard of the farm-to-table restaurant, Tutoni’s, that has been raising the bar with their fresh pasta, local ingredients, and unique ambiance. What may not be so well known, however, is the work Tutoni’s and O.N.E. Hospitality Group have done to revive the local food economy, create opportunities for food entrepreneurs, and unite the York community over quality food. 

    Tutoni’s serves dishes made from local ingredients, which requires a seasonal menu that keeps customers on their toes. Using ingredients from local farmers and producers not only allows the restaurant to offer fresh food to customers, but also keeps transportation emissions at a minimum and supports local business owners by creating a market for their products. Tutoni’s chef also strives to use 100% of the food that comes into his kitchen in order to decrease food waste. Tutoni’s also hosts cooking classes, which introduce participants to scratch cooking and educate the community on “slow food.” 

    O.N.E. Hospitality Group also operated the now-closed restaurant incubator, Taste Test. Taste Test provided local “restaurateurs” with mentorship, a place to showcase their ideas, and opportunities to gain funding for their own brick and mortar restaurants. After a slow-down in applicants and ideas, they decided to close Taste Test in York and relocate to an area that could benefit from the economic development it would spark. O.N.E. is also developing an innovative investment platform for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry. Stay tuned for more details when they unveil their new website! 

    Horn Farm is a significant advocate for environmental sustainability in York County, while also creating economic value in the community and environment. Since its creation, Horn Farm has saved 186 acres from industrial development and set on a mission to preserve farmland in York County. Now, they share York’s rich agricultural history with the community through various classes, which fall into topics such as ecological design, foraging, wilderness skills, gardening and farming, and cooking. 

    In addition to preserving the land and engaging in restorative agriculture in order to leave the land better than it was found, Horn Farm strives to contribute to economic development in York by  supporting independent farmers and creating economic value through their restoration projects. The Incubator Farm Project aids independent farmers in creating small, sustainable farms by providing resources and developing a local market for their products. 

Photograph by Michelle Johnson

    Horn Farm has created a local market through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, which provide weekly harvests for a subscription, and their Online Farmstand. In addition to their vegetable CSA, Horn Farm now also offers egg, pork, and mushrooms CSAs! 

     An exciting upcoming project that Horn Farm is working on is the development of a multifunctional riparian buffer along the Susquehanna River. This will not only prevent erosion and filter out pollutants in runoff water, but also provide plants with both economic and ecological value, such as various fruits, nuts, berries, and plants that can be used in floral arrangements.

    While Horn Farm’s focus is on environmental sustainability, many of their projects and programs contribute to economic development in York County and support the development of a sense of community around the environment and food. 

    Sonnewald, which is Pennsylvania Dutch for “Sunny Forest,” is a natural food store that is situated on 60-acres of chemical-free farmland and has been pioneering sustainable living since the mid 1940’s, which has included cultivating their farm organically and advocating for recycling and composting. The farm even has one of the oldest solar residences in Pennsylvania on its premises. In the store, Sonnewald offers fresh produce, a health and wellness section, and items from local producers.

   In addition to offering real, healthy food, Sonnewald has a strong focus on providing educational opportunities, both within their store and on their farm. They offer frequent demos, yoga classes, and farm tours. Don’t forget to check out their Dig-Your-Own-Jerusalem-Artichokes event on October 31st! 

    Another exciting endeavor of theirs is the Sonnewald Life Institute that is being developed in Stoverstown, at the site of the old fire hall. Their aim is to renovate the building and create a net zero structure that will act as a community center with fitness classes, alternative health solutions, and meeting spaces, as well as house a cafe that will become a meeting place where meaningful connections can be made. 

    Sonnewald’s ultimate goal, however, is to encourage people to live in harmony with others and all aspects of the environment and expand their capacity to connect the community with each other and the environment. Find out how to get involved on their website or contact them to stay up to date on new happenings!

What You Can Do In Your Community

    Embracing the slow food movement doesn’t need to be complicated. Slow food, at its core, is about community, environmental integrity, equitable access, and good food. Search out organizations and businesses in your area that are using environmentally-friendly processes, create a sense of community, and support the local economy and then go out and support them. Dedicate your time and your dollars to these causes because it’s the support of the community that allows these kinds of organizations to give back. 🙂